Mechanical problems have eliminated veteran Chinese rally driver Lu Ningjun from the 2011 Dakar Rally.
Lu, 53, arrived too late for the first stage on Sunday due to an engine problem with his China-made Chery Rely X5 and will take no part in the world's most grueling off-road rally in South America.
Lu's role has now changed from competing in his seventh Dakar Rally to helping his teammates achieve better results.
"Sixty percent of Dakar pullouts are because of mechanical problems and this year, unfortunately, I became one of them,"Lu said of an oil leak. "I really wanted to compete in the Dakar Rally, but I just have to accept the situation. However, as one of the three members of the Rely-Double Star Rally Team, I will adjust my mental state and make every effort and use my experience to help my teammates."
Jin Yibo, general manager of Chery Automobile and spokesman for the Rely-Double Star rally team, said due to his rich Dakar experience, Lu, who finished 28th overall last year - the best ever effort by a Chinese participant, will now act as the captain of the team, assisting Jiang Yaohuan, 29th overall last year, and debutant Liu Kun.
Surprisingly, Liu, nicknamed China's King of Desert, has fared better than Jiang in the early going. After two stages, Liu sits in 61st place while Jiang is 70th.
The best placed Chinese driver is Zhou Yuande, who is 53rd with a time of four hours, 12 minutes and 21 seconds, one minute and a half ahead of Zhou Yong, who is 57th. Another two Chinese entrants, Ma Junkun and Guo Hongzhi, are 79th and 97th respectively.